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UK Muslim Group Works on Getting Fairer Media Coverage

A major study finds that most UK news coverage of Muslims is negative

The Muslim Council of Great Britain is set to launch a campaign in Parliament for fairer media coverage.

This is triggered by a major analysis which found that news stories in the mainstream media are contributing to Islamophobia, The Guardian reported.

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“You need to ensure that when you write a negative story it is fair and reflective and doesn’t generalize about all Muslims and feed into a broader far-right narrative,” Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain said.

“In addition to that there’s an issue of standing back and looking at all the stories out there and seeing if we’re reflecting all the stories. Are we only covering the worst Muslims out there?”

It looked at more than 10,000 articles and TV clips from the last three months of 2018, and said 59% of print articles linked Muslims with negative behavior.

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It covered most major national titles and news television programs, plus TV drama.

It found the Mail on Sunday had the most negative coverage of Islam, with 78% of its stories featuring Muslims having negative themes – above an already-high industry average of 59%.

The New Statesman, Observer and Guardian were the least likely to portray Muslims in a negative light.

UK Muslim Group Works on Getting Fairer Media Coverage - About Islam

The Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) aims to improve the quality of reporting of Islam and Muslims in the media (Getty Images)

The findings come amid growing scrutiny of Islamophobia in the Conservative party and whether its roots lie in rightwing media coverage.

A YouGov poll of Tory members by the campaign group Hope Not Hate found that 60% believe “Islam is generally a threat to western civilization” and more than half believe “Islam is generally a threat to the British way of life”.

The Muslim Council of Britain’s newly-formed Centre for Media Monitoring (CfMM) will present its findings in Parliament on Tuesday.

“The way that the media reports on Islam and Muslims plays a role in Islamophobia,” Versi said. “This is not about censorship, this is about transparency.”

In recent years there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK with 2017 having a record number of Islamophobic attacks.

Tell Mama, a multi-faith monitoring group, recorded over 1,200 reports of Islamophobic incidents, a 26-percent surge from the previous year.

The UK reported last October a 17% increase in hate crimes over the past year, with 94,098 incidents recorded by police, up from about 40,000 reported in 2012.

Muslims Face Disproportionate Media Coverage: Study